Surprise as Shabba is placed on trial

2012-01-07 19:57

Former Bafana Bafana caretaker coach Ted Dumitru is surprised that Kaizer Chiefs winger Siphiwe Tshabalala has been subjected to trials at Crystal Palace.

The 27-year-old Bafana midfielder is on a 10-day trial with the English Championship side, hoping to join his international team-mate Kagisho Dikgacoi at the club.

But the outspoken Dumitru says the Bafana vice-captain could walk into any other club, not only because of his ability, but also because he meets the criteria set in England.

To be eligible to play in England a player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive “A” team matches and his country must be at or above 70th place in the official Fifa world rankings.

“Shabba”, as Tshabalala is known, meets the two requirements as he has been a regular feature in the Bafana team and South Africa is ranked 52nd in the Fifa ranking.

However, Dumitru says the trial period could be as a result of the declining standard of South African football.

The former Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates coach says the country’s football has taken few steps backwards recently.

“Basically, we are going down and we are accepted as mediocre. This is not a good sign and it is the beginning of the end,” said Dumitru.

“It is embarrassing. We seem to just be happy that another player is going to play overseas, irrespective of the division. What kind of message are we sending to our future generations? Are we saying their future is in the lower division?” asked Dumitru.

Last year Tshabalala spent a week at another Championship side, Nottingham Forest, but they decided against signing him.

Dumitru says psychologically it is not good for players to go for trials.

“It is very risky as they enter unknown territory and if they don’t study the environment, they are going to lose badly.”

He said the problem was that there was no system of promoting and selling players in place, and the business of player transfer was mostly left in the hands of agents and sometimes coaches.

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